Ever since she was little, Tamara has struggled with many phobias. Years of instability in her early life led to a long struggle with anxiety, and her mental health issues contributed to her homelessness as an adult. So last month, when she received the opportunity to fly out of state to visit her children for the holidays, she was hesitant and fearful.
Since coming to Calvary last year, Tamara’s mental health has stabilized through the support of our on-site psychiatrist and her case manager. Her routine at Calvary includes enrollment in a daytime support services program, and she is an active participant in Calvary’s Life Skills, Education and Arts Program (LEAP) classes. However, she still had concerns over the plane trip: “I was stressed about flying. I didn’t want to go by myself.”
Tamara’s case manager encouraged her to overcome her anxiety, and asked her to consider the reason she would be stepping onto a plane. After completing an online video course designed to overcome the fear of flying, Tamara decided to take the leap. “I was afraid, but I wanted to see my kids.”
The day she left, Tamara was still nervous, but she navigated the airport, which was a foreign place for her, like a seasoned traveler. She successfully made it through the security lines and located her gate, made her connecting flight, and was happily greeted by her children when she landed. They had a wonderful visit together and spent time trying out her children’s favorite restaurants, giving and receiving gifts, taking portraits with Santa Claus and attending Christmas church services.
Not only did Tamara manage to overcome her fear of flying, but she learned to enjoy the experience! On her return trip back to DC, Tamara was seated by the window at her request. Instead of experiencing fear and anxiety, she marveled at the landscapes beneath her: “It looked just like a map!”
Tamara is optimistic about her future, and excited to start volunteering at a senior living center next month, where she can continue to build on the skills she has strengthened at Calvary. She is grateful that she overcame this hurdle, and said, “Once I knew what to expect, I wasn’t scared anymore.”